Imagine the following scenario: you’re driving home from a social outing one evening when you’re pulled over by the police. The officer comes to your driver’s side window and asks for you license and registration. You hand them over, still wondering what the issue might be. When the officer confirms your credentials, he or she begins to ask you the following questions:
Have you been drinking tonight? How many drinks have you had? How long ago did you have those drinks? Where are you coming from? Where are you headed to? So on and so forth. As someone who’s rarely, if ever, been in trouble with law before, you’re suddenly on edge—you’re suspected of crime. You want to comply with the officer, let them know that there’s no issue here… but you also don’t want to say the wrong thing and make matters worse. What do you do?
From a sound and constitutional legal perspective, here is a complete list of all the questions you have to answer during a DWI stop: none of them.
The Fifth Amendment
In the U.S., the Fifth Amendment protects every citizen from being compelled to be a witness against themselves. That means that during a DWI stop—or any other sort of police questioning—any individual can invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer any or all questions.
You may be thinking, “Is this really necessary during a DWI stop?” Not always, but it can be. Many DWI defendants are surprised by just how much evidence can be gleaned from a few seemingly innocuous questions from the officer on the scene. Yes, invoking the Fifth Amendment may vex an officer, but annoying an officer of the law isn’t a crime. By simply saying, “Officer, I choose to invoke my Fifth Amendment rights,” you have legally protected yourself from answering any questions and possibly offering up information that can be later used against you.
Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. is a premier Texas DWI defense firm was founded by a Board Certified Houston DWI defense attorney. Our team exclusively handles drunk driving cases and is ready to protect your rights and interests following your arrest.
Get proven, knowledgeable counsel in your corner. Contact us today.